Route Analysis: Air Astana adds Maldives service

Kazakhstan’s Air Astana is growing its route network with the addition of Male in the Maldives.

ALA-MLE

Carrier:

Air Astana

Aircraft:

Airbus A321LR

Frequency:

2X-weekly (3X-weekly from Dec. 21)

Start date:

Dec. 5, 2020

Distance:

4,368 km

O&D traffic demand (2019):

2,337

Annual growth:

14.5%

Average base fare (2019):

$573.17

Air Astana will next month begin operations to the Maldives as the Kazakhstani carrier seeks out pockets of international travel demand. The airline will fly nonstop between Almaty (ALA), Kazakhstan’s most populous city, and Velana International (MLE), which serves the islands' capital Male, from Dec. 5.

Flights will initially be 2X-weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, rising to 3X-weekly from Dec. 21 with the addition of a Monday service. Air Astana intends to use its fleet of new Airbus A321LR aircraft on the route, configured with 16 business-class seats and 150 in economy. As high demand is expected over the seasonal holidays, Air Astana will provide extra capacity between Dec. 16 and Jan. 16 by using Boeing 767s.

The COVID-19 entry requirements to the Maldives include a mandatory PCR test certificate with a negative result, taken within 96 hrs. of the scheduled flight arrival time. When returning to Kazakhstan, passengers need to have another PCR test.

In the absence of direct service between Kazakhstan and the Maldives, O&D traffic between the two nations was small in 2019 at just 5,170 two-way passengers. However, Air Astana will be hoping to attract travelers seeking an international getaway.

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